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Zara[1] chi tocca.[2]

Chance affects those to whom it happens [lit., to those who touch it].

Recule soy qui voudra, de la colere d’un Prince en
courrous: car elle est semblable un Pot ou vase feu,
lequel ne peut estre gett sus une troupe, sans endom-
mager de toutes pars. Devise que portoit jadis le Duc
Jan de Bourbon
, comme lon void encores en divers lieus
de Bourbonnois, & Vilefranche en Beaujolois.[3]


1. “Zara” is the name of a dice game (it has the same etymological root as ‘hazard’: the arabic word zar, whose meaning was ‘dice’). Players said “zara” when a losing combination of dice was rolled. In the context of the game, therefore, a chi tocca can well have the meaning of being struck by Fortune. “Zara a chi tocca” is pronounced by Fortune personified in Giordano Bruno’s Spaccio de la bestia trionfante, where she explains that she puts all beings into one urn, mixes and stirs them, and then “zara a chi tocca!” See also Giovanni Ferro, Teatro d’imprese (Venezia, 1623), p. 702.

2. NB: This image appears to be upside-down. See number 29 in the 1551 edition ([FPAa029]).

3. Jean II, Duc de Bourbon & Auvergne, cousin and son-in-law of King Charles VII; Constable of France, 1483 (d. 1488). Villefranche-en-Beaujolais (modern Villefranche-sur-Sane) was once the duke’s seat in his lordship of Beaujolais.

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